Vet Tech Students Team up for Animals

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Veterinary Technician Students

Front row left to right: Naara and Michelle. Back row left to right: Lesley, Casey, Erica and Brianna.

A team of enthusiastic students are sponsoring two holiday-time charitable drives to benefit the region’s animals in need—showing the energy, collaboration and spunk of Veterinary Technician majors at Truckee Meadows Community College.

They are members of the TMCC student chapter of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (SCNAVTA).

“We work together on the drives—someone picks up the donations from the bins and keeps track of them, and someone makes the flyers,” said Brianna Harvey, the club’s secretary. “There’s a lot of collaboration and the giving of ideas for helping to get the word out.”

BJ’s Partnership Fundraiser on Dec. 5

The SCNAVTA club is partnering with two of the local BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. locations for a one-day fundraising event, helping the club donate supplies to local shelters and rescue groups.

When customers present a bar code for the Reno location, or Sparks location on their phone, or a printout of the flyer on Dec. 5, BJ’s will donate 20 percent of the food (not including happy hour specials) and soft beverage sales to SCNAVTA.

“Help out our student club and eat great food,” said the club’s president Naara Licona.

  • When: Tuesday, Dec. 5, 11 a.m.–11 p.m.
  • Where: BJ’s Restaurant, 13999 S. Virginia St., in Reno; and BJ’s Restaurant, 425 Sparks Blvd., in Sparks

The club typically meets as a group to decide on the drives they sponsor, and how the students will distribute donations to the community.

“Everyone brings their ideas to the table,” said Lesley Berg, club member. “We will take a vote in December for which group to donate to in the 'Shelter Animal Jacket, Blanket, and Food Drive.'"

Shelter Animal Jacket, Blanket, and Food Drive

In December, the club is hosting the jacket and blanket drive to collect new or gently used items for keeping sheltered animals warm in the colder winter months.

“Some of the animals come in needing a lot of grooming and clipping, so the blankets and jackets help to keep them really warm in the coldest months,” said Kellie Carter, Veterinary Technology Instructor and the SCNAVTA faculty advisor.

  • What: new or gently used blankets, towels, doggie sweaters or jackets, bedding, leashes and collars, unopened (wet or dry) dog and cat food
  • When: now until Friday, Dec. 8
  • Where: donation bins are outside of Red Mountain Building, room 122 on the Dandini Campus, and near the William N. Pennington Health Science Center, room 101

For larger items, contact Carter at to arrange pick-up.

The students will even take children’s sweaters or jackets, resize and sew them to fit the animals.

“I hope we can get as many donations as possible,” said Casey Doughty. “People may think they don’t have anything to bring, but if they look around their home and find something unwanted, but only gently used that they’d be willing to give, I think that would be great.”

Erica Wood, SCNAVTA’s treasurer agrees.

“Shelters are mostly supported by donations, and any supplies that are donated will help the animals in an environment stressful for them," she said. "If they have the sweaters, blankets and food, it will make their stay there less traumatizing.”

Vet Tech Students Love Animals

The students are passionate about caring for animals in their school, work, and at home.

Wood likes to keep cats and guinea pigs as pets. One time she had a guinea pig named Rodney that was supposed to be a hairless breed, but grew hair on one side of his body, for a “sporting” look. Doughty is a horse-riding aficionado and leases an Arabian to ride hunt seat and English pleasure.

Harvey loves all types of animals and currently has at home two cats, a dog, a horse, and a recently rescued donkey that she just found out is pregnant. What is her favorite animal to keep as a pet?

“I don’t know, because I have them all,” she said.

Berg’s favorite animals to raise are cows, and she has raised three sets of calves. She sold three calves to help pay for much of her college expenses.


SCNAVTA club member Michelle Vega was raised with dogs, and continues to include them in her family. She credits Carter for helping the club to get great results with their fundraisers and drives.

“Kellie does a lot of things for the club; organizes the meetings, keeps us on track, gets approval from the Student Government Association for club matters, and advises us,” Vega said.

Carter gives the club her recommendations for matching the donations with local charitable animal organizations.

In the past, they’ve supported the Washoe County Regional Animal Services, Pets of the Homeless, Chihuahua Rescue Truckee Meadows, the Reno Tahoe Rescue Society and other organizations.

For more information about studying Veterinary Technology at TMCC or about the SCNAVTA club, please call 775-850-4003.